Monday, April 25, 2011

Accepting the Bad

Have you ever had something you needed to say but you just can't find the words?

A burning disappointment.  A broken heart.  A repentance.

I've been at a loss to explain my own feelings--even to myself.  But as I've spent time in prayer and thought this weekend, a few feelings have come to my tongue.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like God just didn't. Show. Up?

Let down. Angry. Floundering.

When my mom was diagnosed with CADASIL it broke my heart. When I learned the hideous disease was hereditary, disappointment, fear and anger raged through me.

I like to imagine I felt how John the Baptist felt when he sent word to Jesus that he was in jail and Jesus--THE Jesus who gave sight to the blind and healed the lame and healed people from leprosy--called John great and yet--didn't go save John the Baptist from jail and his impending death (Matthew 11).  How must John the Baptist have felt?  Angry? Disappointed? Hurt?

In prison John the Baptist questioned if Jesus was the messiah.  How could He be the messiah when this bad thing was happening to John? How could Jesus not save the man who prepared the way for him?

Jesus makes a poignant statement--the prophets through John the Baptist prophesied the coming messiah.  Are we willing to accept that Jesus is Him even in the midst of a bad situation (Matthew 11:14)?  Even when bad things happen?  Even in discomfort or death? Even when we don't get what we want, no matter how noble the request?

When you are going through infertility or watching a loved one die or worrying about your health and wondering if you've given your children a disease that will one day kill them, people like to comfort you with words of encouragement.

"This is God's will."
"Keep the faith."
"Keep praying and God will give you your heart's desires."

To these "comforts" I reply:

Even if it is God's will ... It still hurts.  It is still confusing. In fact, God's will seems much more dubious when it is messy and dangerous and not an obvious blessing.

When I'm angry ... God can handle it.  It is a testament to my faith that I trust HIM with my emotions--even the ugly, angry ones.  My faith is not lacking because I question.  My faith is strong because I know He can comfort me in spite of my doubts.

My bad situation is not a result of not praying enough or trusting enough.  And though I pray, God still MIGHT not give me what I pray for.  But He might make my heart soft toward Him and draw me closer to Him and I might come to learn that it is not my selfish desires He wishes to give me, but to line my desires up with His.  And His heart's desire is that I know Him intimately and trust Him so fully that even if everything else falls away, He is still E N O U G H.

Give me that kind of heart.

I want my desires to be so in line with Christ's that in all circumstances I can stand in full faith and with the heart of trust, I can proclaim as Job did so long ago, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21).

It is easy, oh so easy, to proclaim God's will, and God's blessing, and God's grace when things are good.

But right now as I hurt and break and bleed and fear, I cry out to God and plead with Him to help me accept the bad.

The more I cry out, the more I am being intimately drawn to Him.  And though I hurt, I sing praise.  For peace.  For joy.  For knowing that even that which seems bad, is good in Christ.

1 comment:

  1. I've always admired how you always seem able to accept this diagnosis for your mom and this possibility for yourself. But I also admire how you are able to honestly grieve it and to turn to God in your grief. Thank you for this honest, raw post. I pray that God will comfort you.


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